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MLB Off Season Thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Sat Nov 14th, 2015 12:36 am
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freebirdsforever2001
Fantasia is running wild!


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Maybe Ortiz should give him the number of his PED pusher instead.



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 Posted: Sat Nov 14th, 2015 01:52 am
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lobo316



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The Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to bring back right-hander Marco Estrada on a two-year deal worth $26 million, reports Sportsnet's Shi Davidi and Mike Wilner.

The 32-year-old received a one-year, $15.8-million qualifying offer from the Blue Jays, so the deal will end up paying him less annually, but gives him a longer term and more cash overall.

Estrada put together the best season of his career with the Blue Jays last season, posting career bests in wins, ERA, WHIP, games started, and innings pitched.

He also posted sparkling numbers in the 2015 postseason, compiling a 2-1 record with a 2.33 ERA and 0.78 WHIP, while holding opposing hitters to a .194 batting average.

Estrada earned $3.9 million in 2015.

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 Posted: Sat Nov 14th, 2015 01:53 am
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lobo316



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Catcher Matt Wieters has accepted the Baltimore Orioles' one-year, $15.8-million qualifying offer.

Wieters is the second player to accept a qualifying offer after the Houston Astros announced earlier Friday that Colby Rasmus would return on a one-year deal.

Related: Rasmus becomes 1st player to accept qualifying offer

CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that Wieters received multi-year offers from other clubs, but elected to remain in Baltimore with hopes of building his value through a strong 2016 campaign.

"I prayed a lot," Wieters told MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli about his decision. "One of the options that kept coming up was going back to Baltimore, where I can be comfortable with the (coaching) staff, with the pitching staff and the locker room, which has such a great feel, and the city. My wife and son, they both love Baltimore ... We decided to take a little bit of a different approach as far as not taking a multi-year deal."

Wieters, a three-time All-Star, was considered the top free-agent catcher on the market. Accepting the offer leaves Geovany Soto, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Brayan Pena, Alex Avila, Jeff Mathis, John Jaso, and Dioner Navarro as secondary options for clubs looking to add at the position.

The 29-year-old backstop was limited to 75 games last season as he eased back into action following Tommy John surgery, hitting .267/.319/.422 with eight homers and 25 RBIs.

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 Posted: Sat Nov 14th, 2015 01:55 am
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lobo316



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Ian Kennedy will reportedly test the free-agent market.

The right-hander has rejected a one-year, $15.8-million qualifying offer from the San Diego Padres, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

San Diego will receive draft pick compensation if Kennedy signs with another club.

With the Padres at around $100-million in salary commitments - including arbitration-eligible players - Kennedy may be too pricey for them and could draw interest from teams in need of starting pitching, such as the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers.

Kennedy earned $9.85 million in 2015, his third season with San Diego.

The former first-round pick pitched to a 4.28 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP in 30 starts last season, and owns a career 3.98 ERA in 206 big-league appearances, 204 starts.

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 Posted: Sat Nov 14th, 2015 05:57 am
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lobo316



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Dave Dombrowski, who was named president of baseball operations of the Boston Red Sox in August, pulled off the boldest move of his brief tenure in Beantown on Friday, shipping four prospects to the San Diego Padres for closer Craig Kimbrel.

In exchange for Kimbrel, a four-time All-Star, the Red Sox parted ways with one of their most promising minor-leaguers in outfielder Manuel Margot, as well as shortstop Javier Guerra, infielder Carlos Asuaje, and left-hander Logan Allen.

Tasked with bolstering a roster that fizzled in 2015 following a series of high-profile offseason signings, Dowbrowski hinted earlier this week that he could unload serious prospect capital this winter, telling reporters that he was likely to "do something that is painful one way or the other."

But while Boston's farm system isn't as impressive as it was a few hours ago, their bullpen will now inspire fear throughout the American League - something it failed to do in 2015. Last season, the Red Sox received an appalling -1.4 wins above replacement from their bullpen - the worst mark in the majors - en route to a last-place finish in the AL East.

Kimbrel, meanwhile, endured an uncharacteristically ugly start to the season, his first in San Diego, but still finished the year with a 2.58 ERA, and 1.05 WHIP in 61 appearances. Though his peripherals dipped a bit this summer, Kimbrel still leads all qualified relievers in WAR (12.9), saves (225), and strikeouts (563) since his 2010 debut.

With another $24 million owed to Kimbrel over the next two years, however, Padres general manager A.J. Preller opted to swap his best reliever to further improve his farm system. Kimbrel, in fact, is the second Padres reliever to be traded in the last 36 hours, as veteran right-hander Joaquin Benoit was dealt to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday for minor-league right-hander Enyel De Los Santos, and infielder Nelson Ward.

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 Posted: Sat Nov 14th, 2015 10:30 pm
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CanadianHorseman



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lobo316 wrote: Dave Dombrowski, who was named president of baseball operations of the Boston Red Sox in August, pulled off the boldest move of his brief tenure in Beantown on Friday, shipping four prospects to the San Diego Padres for closer Craig Kimbrel.

In exchange for Kimbrel, a four-time All-Star, the Red Sox parted ways with one of their most promising minor-leaguers in outfielder Manuel Margot, as well as shortstop Javier Guerra, infielder Carlos Asuaje, and left-hander Logan Allen.


Some stuff about the trade from cbssports:

On Kimbrel

Kimbrel, 27, has posted a 1.70 ERA with a 91 percent save-conversion rate, along with 523 strikeouts in 327 2/3 innings since 2011. He's under contract for at least the next two seasons for a total of $24.5 million, not including a club option for 2018 at $13 million, with a $1 million buyout.

In trading for Kimbrel, the Red Sox might have gotten away more cheaply than if they had dealt for left-hander Aroldis Chapman of the Reds. The Red Sox had been rumored to be interested in Chapman, and the Reds are said to be shopping him, but price -- for Boston --simply might have been too high.

Kimbrel consistently throws a 98-mph four-seam fastball, but if there are any concerns about him, it's that his strikeout percentage -- 36.4 -- was the lowest of his career, and the number has been dropping (albeit from a ridiculous high of 50.2 in 2012). His line-drive percentage has risen every full year he's been in the league, his extra-base hits allowed were up in 2015, as were his home runs allowed. Still, he seems to be adjusting to the league adjusting to him; Kimbrel posted a .426 OPS against in the second half of 2015.



About the Prospects Going to SD

The Red Sox are giving up perhaps three of their top 12 prospects, according to at least one reporter who covers the team, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. Guerra, 20, is said to be a top defensive shortstop and the best of the prospects. He spent 2015 with Class A Greenville, hitting .279 with a .329 on-base percentage and .449 slugging percentage with 15 home runs, 68 RBI, 64 runs scored and seven stolen bases in 116 games.

Reporter Corey Brock, who covers the Padres for MLB.com said the team will give Guerra a shot to win the starting shortstop in spring training.

Margot, 21, is seen as a solid center-field prospect after batting a combined .276/.324/.419 with 27 doubles, nine triples, six home runs, 50 RBI, 73 runs scored and 39 stolen bases in 110 games between Class A and Double-A.

Allen, 18, is the other higher-end prospect, posting a 1.11 ERA with 26 strikeouts and one walk over 24 1/3 innings between rookie ball and Class A Lowell.

The Red Sox still have other prospects (and better ones, along with young players already on the active roster) available for more trades if they want to go that route. But they might not have to, if they prefer only to sacrifice the prospects traded in the Kimbrel deal and supplement the roster with free agents. Adding someone such as right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, for example, would make sense.



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 Posted: Sun Nov 15th, 2015 06:02 am
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CanadianHorseman



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from cbssports.com:


Jeremy Hellickson has been traded to the Phillies.



The Phillies have acquired starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson from the Diamondbacks, the clubs have announced. In return, Arizona is receiving right-handed minor-league pitcher Sam McWilliams.

Hellickson, 28, was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2011 and won a Gold Glove in 2012 while also having a productive season pitching, but since then has fallen off the rails. Last season, he was 9-12 with a 4.62 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 121 strikeouts in 146 innings. He allowed 22 home runs, and that's been a problem throughout his career. In the four seasons that he's made at least 27 starts, he's allowed at least 21 home runs (21 in 2011, 25 in 2012, 24 in 2013 and 22 last year).

Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies play their home games, was the sixth-most homer-friendly ballpark in the majors last season, with Arizona's Chase Field checking in at 24th. Hellickson was much better at home (4.00 ERA, 10 HRs allowed in 72 innings) than on the road (5.23 ERA, 12 HRs allowed in 74 innings) last season, too. Taking all of this information in totality, it appears that Hellickson won't be a very good fit for the Phillies.

Then again, a rebuilding team often needs a veteran to just eat innings until the kids are ready to take over. Young stud Aaron Nola will be in the rotation to begin next season along with Jerad Eickhoff, but it's possible the likes of Jake Thompson, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin and/or Jesse Biddle aren't up to begin the season in the rotation. That puts Hellickson and probably Matt Harrison in the Aaron Harang/Jerome Williams role of eating those aforementioned innings.

Further evidence that this is set to be Hellickson's role here is that he's a free agent after the 2016 season. So it looks like the Phillies would just like him to bridge the gap to their youth movement in the rotation before letting him walk.

As for Arizona, they've got Patrick Corbin, Robbie Ray, Rubby De La Rosa and Archie Bradley for next year's rotation and also have some money to spend on the deep pool of free agent starters. From Heyman's Inside Baseball comes this nugget:

They have touched base with free agent Yovani Gallardo but are expected to cast a wide net below the top three guys.

So expect Arizona to fill Hellickson's rotation spot via free agency. McWilliams is a lottery ticket. The 20-year-old righty was an eighth-round draft pick out of high school in 2014. He was 0-2 with a 3.27 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 33 innings in Rookie Ball last season. He's a lanky 6-foot-7, 190 pounds.





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 Posted: Sun Nov 15th, 2015 07:45 am
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lobo316



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A pair of leather-flashing heavyweights claimed baseball's highest defensive honors.

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier were named Rawlings Platinum Glove Award winners, acknowledging the top defensive players in their respective leagues.

Following an injury-riddled 2014 that limited him to a career-low 110 games, Molina bounced back and claimed his record fourth Platinum Glove in the last five years.

Molina threw out 26 of 63 (41 percent) potential base stealers last season, while accounting for seven defensive runs saved, the third best mark among catchers in the majors. The 33-year-old is just the third catcher in history to win at least eight Glove Gold awards.

Kiermaier won both his first Gold Glove and Platinum Glove this season following a phenomenal defensive showing. The 25-year-old led the majors with 42 defensive runs saved, while finishing fourth with 15 outfield assists.

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 Posted: Sun Nov 15th, 2015 07:46 am
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lobo316



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Cincinnati Reds general manager Dick Williams doesn't seem too concerned that the list of potential trade destinations for closer Aroldis Chapman shrunk Friday when the Boston Red Sox landed four-time All-Star Craig Kimbrel from San Diego.

"Kimbrel was a bit of a different animal than Chapman, in terms of club control," Williams told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon on Saturday. "We didn't feel like we missed out on a deal with them. There will be other teams that are interested in Chapman."

Chapman, a free agent next offseason, is expected to be moved shortly with the Reds unlikely to compete in 2016 following a 64-98 finish this summer. Walt Jocketty, who was recently named president of baseball operations, recently admitted the upcoming season will be a "transition year," while team owner Bob Castellini said he's "on board" for an aggressive roster overhaul.

Chapman, then, remains one of the club's top trade assets, along with right fielder Jay Bruce. An All-Star in each of the last four seasons, Chapman owns a 1.90 ERA with a 0.96 WHIP since taking over as Cincinnati's closer in 2012, notching 145 saves while leading all relievers with a 45 percent strikeout rate over that span.

"I don't control who is out there or who will be interested. We feel that there are other offers," added Williams. "We feel that he's the best closer out there, so (we) hope good stuff can happen."

Projected to earn $12.9 million in 2016, his final year of arbitration eligibility, Chapman authored a 1.63 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP over 65 appearances this season, notching 116 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings, while limiting opponents to a .181 average.

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 Posted: Sun Nov 15th, 2015 07:47 am
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lobo316



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After shipping four prospects to the west coast in exchange for four-time All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, Boston Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski believes most of the trade-related roster moves are done.

"I thought that our acquisition of the relief pitching aspect would more likely come through a trade," Dombrowski told reporters. "We're in a spot that (Kimbrel) is probably our major acquisition for the wintertime as far as the trade market is concerned. You never can tell, but that's what my instincts tell me."

Eager to upgrade a pitching staff that ranked as one of the worst in the majors, Dombrowski will now set his sights on a rich starting pitching free-agent market in hopes of acquiring an ace the likes of David Price, Zack Greinke, or Johnny Cueto.

"My thought process is most likely any acquisition we'd make in the starting pitching would first happen as far as the free agent field is concerned," Dombrowski said. "You never know, but that would be my guess."

Despite packaging top prospects Manuel Margot and Javier Guerra to the San Diego Padres for Kimbrel, the Red Sox still boast a deep farm system, which they could dip into again should they strike out via free agency.

Dombrowski may also have to get creative in finding room in his rotation, as starters Clay Buchholz, Wade Miley, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Henry Owens, and Joe Kelly are all under contract next season.

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 Posted: Sun Nov 15th, 2015 07:48 am
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lobo316



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Few teams boast the pitching depth of the Houston Astros, who earned their first postseason berth since 2005 this season, wherein their starting rotation finished second in the American League in wins above replacement.

Still, general manager Jeff Luhnow admitted earlier this week he'd like to add another pitcher from outside the organization to the glut of starters set to compete for a rotation spot this spring.

"We have some depth in terms of pitching options, and then we have younger guys that may not be ready for the beginning of the season but are coming along," Luhnow told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. "At the same time, we have expectations to win a lot of ballgames next year, so having a proven veteran pitcher, whether it's a trade or free agent, that can plug into our rotation and upgrade, is something we're going to look at."

Dallas Keuchel, a strong candidate for the 2015 AL Cy Young award, will anchor Houston's rotation next summer, with right-handers Collin McHugh and Lance McCullers likely to slot in behind him. Though, at this point, veterans Mike Fiers and Scott Feldman are poised to round out the starting corps, the two will face competition from Vincent Velasquez, Asher Wojciechowski, Dan Straily, and former No. 1 pick Mark Appel.

And though the Astros have already committed about $89 million to their 2016 payroll after arbitration raises - their highest total since 2010 - Luhnow would still like to add another candidate into the starting mix, whether through trade or free agency.

"We touched base with some of the representatives with some of the free agents," Luhnow said. "It will probably take a little longer to develop. I do have a good feel for what avenues we may able to pursue at this point."

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 Posted: Sun Nov 15th, 2015 08:26 pm
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HBF



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Seriously hoping the Yankees don't sign Jason Heyward. He is SO overrated!



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 Posted: Mon Nov 16th, 2015 07:22 pm
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lobo316



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Ben Zobrist will have his share of suitors this offseason — including the Mets — but early indications are the Yankees will not be among them.

According to industry sources, the Yankees aren’t willing to spend as much as Zobrist likely will receive on the market, even if he does fill a need in the infield and is a switch hitter.

Instead, it’s the Mets that figure to make a strong push for Zobrist, whose versatility would allow them to use him at second base and in the outfield. They are among the teams that already have formally reached out to Zobrist’s agent, Alan Nero.

With the likely departure of Daniel Murphy — who rejected the Mets’ $15.8 million qualifying offer Friday — the Mets have a hole of their own at second base.

They could attempt to fill the spot internally by moving Wilmer Flores to second and keeping Ruben Tejada at shortstop or give 21-year-old Dilson Herrera a shot. Matt Reynolds is another possibility at short if the Mets choose to move on from Tejada, who suffered a fractured right leg on Chase Utley’s take-out slide in the NLDS.

None of those options, though, would help a lineup that could not only be missing Murphy, but also Yoenis Cespedes, another free agent who is almost certainly headed for richer pastures.

That’s where Zobrist could fit in Queens, rather than in The Bronx. The Yankees plans, especially this early in the offseason, are subject to change, but they stuck to their pledge last year.

That figured to be tested since the Yankees are unsettled at second base. With the ineffectiveness of Stephen Drew a year ago and the questionable readiness of Rob Refsnyder and Dustin Ackley during brief stints in The Bronx, Zobrist would have seemed like a solid fit for the Yankees.

For a second straight offseason, they have at least started out with a plan to not go deep into their pockets and instead continue to improve via the trade market.

They still have high salaries locked up in aging players such as Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira. And they have just $12.5 million coming off last season’s payroll with the departures of Drew, Chris Capuano and Chris Young.

Zobrist, who turns 35 in May, could get as much as a four-year deal worth over $60 million. He’s coming off another strong season and remained remarkably consistent since becoming an everyday player with Tampa Bay in 2009.

He split 2015 between Oakland and Kansas City, finishing with 13 homers and an .809 OPS. He then played a significant role in Kansas City’s World Series run. And since he was traded midseason, the team that signs him won’t have to surrender a draft pick.

Both the Yankees and Mets expressed interest in acquiring Zobrist before the trade deadline, but the Mets never got far in their pursuit and the Yankees balked at surrendering both Adam Warren and Refsnyder.

At the World Series last month, Zobrist said he thought there was a chance he would end up in New York during the season.

“I heard rumors and I didn’t know,” Zobrist said. “You don’t want to start thinking too much about it til you actually get a phone call.”

At the time, the idea seemed pretty good to a player on a bad Oakland team.

“When we were in Oakland, struggling to even get to the .500 mark and there was talk about getting traded to a contending team, of course I was interested,” Zobrist said. “But I think I ended up with the Royals for a good reason and fit in really well with this club.”

Now, he’s got a chance to pick a team on his own.

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 Posted: Mon Nov 16th, 2015 08:53 pm
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lobo316



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The San Diego Padres were one of the biggest buyers of last offseason, and could be one of the biggest sellers this offseason.

After trading the back end of their bullpen in Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit for prospects, the Padres are reportedly looking to make more moves.

San Diego's willing to move outfielder Matt Kemp and is also shopping right-hander Tyson Ross, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

The Padres made a huge splash last offseason, acquiring the 31-year-old Kemp and his monster contract from the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the team underperformed, finishing with a 74-88 record.

If they're interested in rebuilding, Kemp and Ross could be the odd men out.

Kemp made $21.25 million in 2015, while hitting .265/.312/.443 with 23 home runs, 100 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases. He's set to earn $21.75 million over the next four seasons.

Ross posted a 10-12 record with a 3.26 ERA and 1.31 WHIP across 33 starts in 2015, while making $5.25 million. He's eligible for arbitration for the second time in 2016 and isn't set to hit free agency until 2018.

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 Posted: Mon Nov 16th, 2015 08:54 pm
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lobo316



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The Los Angeles Dodgers have a ton of money to spend, but it doesn't mean they want to continue to spend it.

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes that Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly believes the club's payroll will be closer to $200 million next season.

"We're looking toward building something long term, and sustainable," Boehly said. "I think sustainable is more like the league average."

With the league average closer to $140 million, the Dodgers may not be able to make that happen, but a $200-million target is more attainable.

The Dodgers' payroll tallied over $314 million to end 2015, according to spotrac, close to $95 million more than the New York Yankees, who owned the second-highest payroll in MLB, and $252 million more than the Miami Marlins, who had the lowest payroll in baseball.

After Brett Anderson accepted a qualifying offer on Friday, the Dodgers currently sit around $189 million for next season if all nine of their arbitration-eligible players are tendered contracts, so the goal is a reasonable one that could help the franchise limit spending, with a look more towards the future of their budding farm system.

"The farm system is looking great, compared to what it was three years ago," Boehly said. "I feel really good about that. I know that has been Stan (Kasten)'s mantra since he showed up. We're starting to see that come to develop."

The Dodgers set a major-league record with a $270-million opening-day payroll in April.

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